Josh Beckett pitched one of best games of the year on Saturday night, allowing just two earned runs as the Red Sox halted a three-game losing streak, 5-3 at Safeco last night.
Jason Bay hit a towering two-run shot in the first, and Jason Varitek belted atwo-run homer in the third to give the Red Sox yet another 4-0 lead on this West Coast trip. But right after that it appeared as though Beckett was determined to give back, allowing a two-run shot of his own to Yuniesky Betancourt.
And in the fourth, it looked the game was about to be tied, as Russell Branyan tripled in a run with no outs, but the Mariners left him there, and that was all the offense they could muster. Beckett went seven innings for the win.
Jeff Bailey completed the offense for the Sox with his second homer of the season. But the stars of last night's game was the Red Sox defense. They flashed some serious leather. Mike Lowell made two sparkling plays at third, Jacoby Ellsbury made a fine sliding catch off Ichiro Suzuki, Dustin Pedroia made a great play at second, and Jeff Bailey saved a possible triple off Endy Chavez with a nice diving play at first. Even Julio Lugo made a nice play with Branyan at the third to leave him there in the fourth. (But The Infield Weak Link did make a throwing error that cost the Sox a run earlier, and left the game with a tight groin in the seventh.)
The Sox bullpen continued its stellar work in picking up Beckett, as Jonathan Papelbon got his 10th save of the season, after Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez shut Seattle down in the eighth.
Good news on the injury front, as Kevin Youkilis will be back on Wednesday after a brief rehab stint, and Daisuke Matsuzaka made his last rehab start for the PawSox last night, and he maybe making his first start against the Mets on Friday night. And on the "getting my head back together again" front, David Ortiz will take another seat on the bench today, and will most likely be back on Tuesday night against Toronto at Fenway.